Rendez-vous in Alpes-Mont Blanc
From the mythical Mont Blanc to the majestic Pont d'Arc in the gorges of Ardeche, Rhône-Alpes’s nature puts on a show while you recharge body and soul at Evian or on the shores of alpine lakes.
Mont-Blanc overlooks the Alps, which are home to the largest ski area in the world. Here you can enjoy downhill or cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe walks, sled rides, ice diving, curling, etc. Go trekking in Vanoise Park, horseback riding in the Regional Natural Park of Pilat, or take a trip to the Sea of Ice with the Montenvers Train. Try spelunking in the Isère caves, particularly in the Cuves de Sassenage. Go canoeing in the Drôme or in the Ardèche Gorges around the Arc Bridge, swimming in the great Alpine Lakes, golfing on the prestigious greens such as the Evian Masters Golf Club (where the tournament of the same name is held)… Rhône-Alpes offers a thousand ways to test yourself physically and to get some fresh air in the process. Afterwards, why not relax in any of the many centers dedicated to well being?
With an expansive industrial history, Saint Etienne became a capital of design (with its Cité and ‘Biennale du Design’). It is also home a museum of modern art that houses the second largest collection of contemporary works. Grenoble (the hometown of Stendhal) is best known for its impressive bastille (accessible by cable car), and Vienne proudly displays its Gallo-Roman ruins, while Chamonix, Annecy and Chambéry also boast many wonderful sites and monuments – all invitations to come discover these magical cities. The region also accounts for several pilgrimage sites; notably Notre-Dame de la Salette in Isère.
From the Orgnac Grotto to the Castle of the Dukes of Savoy, by way of the Roman Theaters of Lyon, the Abbey of Saint-Chef, or the Royal Monastery of Brou, the Rhône-Alpes entrusts you with its history and its stories. Lyon’s rich heritage, covering many UNESCO-classified buildings, reflects every period in its history and makes the region endlessly appealing.
This is the second-most-starred region in the French Michelin Guide – think of Paul Bocuse or the Troisgros brothers. One is assured of a wondrous feast for the palate in the Rhône-Alpes. The Lyonnais bouchons (traditional and authentic restaurants associated with Lyon) offer "cochonnailles" (a pork speciality), quenelles (ground fish dumplings), cervelle de canut (fromage frais seasoned with herbs ), praline tarts, and the Lyonnais coussins (a dessert made of chocolate and marzipan).
Traditional Savoyard and Dauphinoise cooking is composed of simple ingredients, making for specialty dishes that are both tasty and substantial: gratin, croziflette (made with crozets, buckwheat pasta from Savoy), tartiflette (made with potatoes and Reblochon cheese), diots (Savoyard sausages), and matafan aux pommes (a kind of apple tart).
Savoy cheeses such as Beaufort, Tomme and Reblochon compete for flavor with the picodons, Ardèche and Drôme goat’s cheeses, and fourmes from the Loire!
The region has a significant range of wines on offer to wash it all down: Brouilly or other Beaujolais crus, wines from Savoy, Côtes du Rhône, and more. And don’t miss sampling the génépi from Savoy or the chartreuse from Voiron.
Naturally, the Rhône-Alpes plays host to major events related to winter sports like Kandahar (the Alpine Skiing World Cup). Traditions are expressed in style during the Festival of Lights in Lyon, at the Savoy Fair, or at the Bourg-en-Bresse Fair. Every season is a musical one in the Rhône-Alpes thanks to events such as Printemps de Pérouges, Jazz in Vienne, and the Festival of Words and Music. Musical notes resound all day and all night during the nocturnal sessions of The Fourvière Nights.
“Water, water, everywhere!” The lakes of Lémain, Bourget, and Annecy, as well as rivers and springs have all encouraged the development of spa-tourism and many well-being centres.
The Rhône-Alpes has a considerable variety of offerings for your family outings too: Crocodile Farm, Lac du Bourget Aquarium, Walibi Rhône-Alpes and Safari Park at Peaugres. The Rhône-Alpes region really shows its visitors how to enjoy themselves!